Young couple sat on a bench by the Stonehenge bus

Days out without a car

Galloping up to a castle on a gallant steed isn't the done thing anymore. And the days of alighting from a graceful carriage at a country house are long gone.

But planning a day trip this summer doesn’t have to mean getting in the car.

Many of our historic places can be visited by public transport, by bike, on foot - or a mixture. Here's a selection of the most easily accessible ones.

Explore England

Use the quick links below to jump to a region, or browse through the list.

 

London | South West | South East | Yorkshire | North West | North East | Hadrian's Wall | East of England and East Midlands | West Midlands

London

Once you get your head around the tube map, our capital city is one of the easiest places to get around without a car in the whole country - and probably one of the worst places to drive. So it's well worth exploring by public transport, on foot or by bike.

Check out our travel guide for more information on planning a historical day out in London.

  • Wellington Arch: Monumental Memorial

    Between Buckingham Palace, Green Park and Hyde Park - opposite Apsley House. Hyde Park Corner underground station is a couple of minutes' walk away and the nearest train station is Victoria.

  • Apsley House: A home for a hero

    'Number 1 London' is over the road from Wellington Arch. Hyde Park Corner underground station is next to the house. Victoria is the nearest train station, just over a mile away.

  • Eltham Palace: Art Deco Decadence

    Mottingham station is half a mile from the palace. Eltham station is just slightly further away. TfL bus services 124,126, 160 and 161 stop nearby.

  • Marble Hill House: Georgian Riverside Splendour

    Richmond and Twickenham stations are both one mile away, St Margaret's station even closer - then it's a short walk. It's served by trains from Waterloo, and is on the District and Overground lines.

  • Chiswick House: Neo-Palladian Playhouse

    Chiswick station is half a mile from the house and is on the District and Overground lines, less than a 15 minute walk. Turnham Green is the nearest tube station just over a mile away.

  • Ranger's House: Hidden gems

    Ranger's House is on the edge of Greenwich Park. It's a 20 minute walk from Greenwich Station, or 15 minutes from Blackheath station. The 386 bus stops near the house.

  • Jewel Tower: Home of the pint

    Jewel Tower is in the heart of Westminster, close to the tube stations at Westminster and St James's Park. Mainline stations at Victoria, Charing Cross and Waterloo are all within a mile.

  • Kenwood: A Capital Country House

    Hampstead Station is a half hour walk away, or 15 minutes on the 603 bus. Highgate is a 25 minute walk, and Archway is about 30 minutes on foot (uphill) or 20 minutes on the 210 bus. All stations are on the Northern Line.

South west

The south west's car-free picks are split between the Wiltshire wonders of Stonehenge, Old Sarum and Farleigh Hungerford, and two twin Tudor artillery forts guarding Falmouth in the south of Cornwall.

Our travel guide to Cornwall has more information on some of the other places you might be able to visit if you're happy to spend longer on foot or bike.

South east

Car-free adventurers are spoilt for choice in the south east, where a string of coastal castles stand guard over the English Channel. Portchester and Pevensey have their origins as Roman forts designed to thwart marauding Saxons; neighbours Deal and Walmer were built by the Tudors; and Rochester is one of the tallest castles in the country.

Mighty Dover has history ranging from a Roman lighthouse to secret Cold War tunnels, and saw action during the rebellion against King John and was the headquarters of the operation to evacuate the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk.

The final spot goes to Battle Abbey - the very place where England's future was decided nearly 1,000 years ago at the Battle of Hastings.

Yorkshire

Some of Yorkshire's best historical attractions can be easily accessed by trains. Clifford's Tower stands proudly on its mound in the heart of the city of York, and in the suburbs the spine-chilling Cold War Bunker lurks beneath the ground, preserved as it was when the world waited for nuclear war.

And on the coast, two romantic ruins stand high above the famous coastal towns of Whitby and Scarborough. You can check out our travel guide for more ideas.

North West

We care for three places in the north west that you can visit without a car. Stott Park Bobbin Mill offers a rare glimpse of a factory from the height of the Industrial Revolution, and Carlisle Castle stands as a testament to the fierce fighting that went on along the border with Scotland for hundreds of years. The soaring red ruins of Furness Abbey are remnants of a more peaceful past, and were praised in poems by William Wordsworth. 

North east

The rugged north east is dotted with castles, especially along its stunning coastline. We've picked four places you can easily visit without needing a car, but there are plenty of longer distance cycle paths and walking routes for those willing to go the extra mile.

Check out our in depth travel guide to the Northumberland Coast for even more inspiration.

Hadrian's Wall

The famous northern frontier of the Roman Empire is easily accessible with the help of the seasonal AD122 bus. There are also well established cycling and walking routes along the wall. Either way, the exceptional historial importance of the sites along the wall and the wild beauty of the surrounding landscape make a visit well worthwile.

See our travel guide to Hadrian's Wall for more tips and ideas.

East of England and East Midlands

In the East and East Midlands you can get to two magnficent stately homes and two powerful fortresses. Wrest Park is home to some of the country's finest historic gardens, and a trip to Audley End will show you what it really took to keep a country house ticking over in the Victorian era.

At the mouth of the Thames, Tilbury Fort is an intimidating example of a Tudor coastal fortress, and a location used in the recent Wonder Woman film and Taboo TV show. Nestled high in the Peak District is Peveril Castle, a picturesque ruin standing above Castleton. The bus route that runs to the town from Sheffield is one of the finest in Britain.

  • Tilbury Fort: Guarding the Thames

    The fort is one and a half miles from Tilbury Town station. Ensignbus 99 connects with trains at the station and passes the fort. Alternatively, you can get the ferry across the Thames from Gravesend station and walk a quarter mile.

  • Audley End House & Gardens: Upstairs Downstairs

    Audley End station is about a mile and a quarter away from the house. The footpath runs along a busy main road. A number of local buses heading towards Saffron Walden pass within a quarter of a mile of the house.

  • Peveril Castle: Ruins in the Peak District

    A number of Hulley's buses serve Castleton, the village near the castle. The First 272 runs from Sheffield to Castleton - it's been rated as one of England's best bus journeys.

West Midlands

We've picked three places to visit in the West Midlands. The immense Kenilworth Castle was a powerful medieval stronghold and an Elizabethan palace, and you can get a taste of its rich and varied history by climbing its towers and exporing its lovingly recreated garden. Stokesay Castle is one of the finest medieval fortified manor houses in England, and combines fairytale towers with breathtaking views. In Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter, take a tour of the J.W. Evans Silver Factory and step back into a lost industrial world.

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